back to article 3G forever, cries Carter

Lord Carter has proposed that UK mobile phone operators be allowed to hang on to 3G licences forever, and make better use of their 2G assets too. The current 3G licences are due to run out in 2021, after which there should be another auction, but Lord Carter, in his Digital Britain report, wants to see the incumbents offered …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh Jesus

    Where did they get this guy? He's amazing. He's like the Iraqi information minister of technology.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Good plan

    I would be more than willing to switch to 3G for my home broadband and stop paying BT their bb-tax ('line rental'), if the networks would deploy infrastructure to my area.

    Also, the networks need to at least implement mast sharing - where I live there are 3 masts next to each other (within 50ft), two are owned by o2 (2G + tetra) and the other is t-mobile.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    That's utter *utter* lunacy. Guarantees a perpetual monopoly over a good chunk of spectrum irrespective of technology developments. Why on earth would we want to do this?

  4. pctechxp
    Thumb Down


    2 Mbps vr wireless but written into the T & Cs will be (as is the case with current mobile phone contracts).

    It maybe affected by factors we cannot control e.g. the weather.

    These contracts also state they will make the network available to you but they are not liable if your local cell goes down indefinitely.

    What do we want? a national fibre network!

    When do we want it? Now

  5. Jon Lawrence


    Run this one by me again.

    If the industry can't get a set of agreements in place by April 2009 then the powers that be may choose to impose one.

    After the amounts some companies paid in those auctions I can't see them being happy with negotiating anykind of trade.

  6. Jason


    What do you mean T-Mobile and 3 PLAN to share their 3G UTRAN? They are sharing their UTRAN's now. Working very well too. Improved customer service whilst reducing sites and power consumtion of the network. 3G is an ideal technology for sharing.

  7. James
    Paris Hilton

    Infrastructure sharing

    It would certainly be nice to see more infrastructure sharing - not just masts, but coverage, particularly in remote areas. There might not be enough users of any one network on some Scottish island or a remote valley with lousy coverage - but if the five networks could split the cost of putting in one shared base station to cover it, they'd ALL benefit. If they could just have their own dedicated kit in urban areas, where there's enough demand, then have rural areas covered by shared equipment (maybe through a neutral non-profit company like LINX), they'd have better coverage nationally at lower cost.

    Saves money, improves service - even Paris could see that it makes sense ... yep, I can see why it won't happen here :-(

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Ditch the auction criteria and ditch the 1980s inflationary tax by proxy

    As a classical example. One train operator won a bid to use east coast line with a bid of 1.4 (or was it 1.6?) billion. The company is struggling to meet that commitment. It will probably have little option but to charge its customers even more (hence inflationary tax by proxy).

    If all of the 1.4 (1.6?) billion is gleamed from fair fare paying passengers they too (or at least most of them) will also have to pay VAT? Yes?

    So, we can see why (un)civil servant (has)beencounters are reluctant to invent a new model as auction price plus VAT is a certain way to keep them, their pensions, income and expenses at the reasonable standard one has become accustomed to.

    Now let's see. 17.5% of 1.4 billion is 0.28 billion (that's nice for the coffers wot and will help with a variety of Christmas fuddles and shindigs yes?!)

    So, interim conclusion: ditch auction criteria based on highest bid.

    Initiate auction critera based on best use of a facility paid for by the public that should on principle be offered free to the public (anyone remember that the word/concept/pr of "public" took a dive in the 1980s?).

    The selection criteria would also include stewardship duties and responsibilities.

    I am sure that even the UKs various (un)civil servants could draft auction criteria in the next 10 years or so But! Let's put a bit of pressure on them and insist that the next auction or release to 3rd parties of publicly owned assets follows a principle that the asset will be available to the public at no additional cost whatsoever.

    Get Carter! Quick!

    (with no apologies at all to the various consultants aiming to get a percentage share of the highest acceptable bid)

    (skull & bones as that is indeed how the civil servants are acting in practice)

  9. Gianni Straniero

    Bring it on

    900 MHz 3G would be very nice, thanks. If you don't yet have a BT line at your property, expect to pay £122.33 as a connection fee, and a minimum of £10.27 line rental for 12 months.

    Your TCO is £245.57 before you've even made any calls, let alone connected to t'Internet.

    Unfortunately 3G is 2G when you're indoors. There's no way around that, unless you fancy dangling your phone out of the window when you want to go online.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    VAT on Trains?

    Unless the full 1.4 billion is coming from sales of luxary items on the train, the taxman is not getting VAT as it isn't charged on rail fares.

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